Workshop with Taiga Urushibata at British Shohin Bonsai


During the British Shohin Bonsai exhibition at RHS Wisley Gardens in the south of England that was hosted by Sutton Bonsai society I attended workshop led by Taiga Urushibata. So much time can be wasted at workshops simply wiring your tree, so I pre-wired my pine before the workshop, I also took along another pine to work if time allowed.

I could easily have styled this tree but I wanted Taiga’s ‘take’ on the tree, there were so many option available… what was his idea for the tree, how would he style it? I believe that you are never to old to learn no matter how many years you have been working with bonsai.

The tree is a ‘natural’ cascade as the base of the tree has a sharp bend bringing the trunk more than 90º also the base and nebari are very interesting displaying deadwood and deep fissured bark. There is a VERY old shari running almost the length of the sweeping curve trunk.

After a short discussion Taiga agreed that this was the best option and the styling began. I wanted to bring the crown of the tree closer to the base, this meant a very severe bend. The tree had raffia in the area to be bend. Taiga told me that such a bend was not safe however I was confident that it was OK as the tree was strong and Scots Pine are very flexible. A tourniquet was applied to a temporary steel bar; this tourniquet was later replaced with a shorter one attached to a dead branch nearer the base of the tree. Taiga expressed that a bend such as this would not be possible with a Japanese Red pine as the branch would snap in two.

The final design was more or less as I envisaged. The other trees worked by Taiga included a few Junipers, a Yew and pines.